The man brought in to improve public relations for the city of Ferguson, Mo., has been fired after it was publicized that he is a convicted killer.
Devin James was hired at $155-an-hour to handle media requests and help restore public trust after the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The newspaper said city officials knew of James’ conviction, but the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, which pays his salary, was unaware of his background — he was convicted of reckless homicide in Shelby County, Tenn., in 2006, according to the Post-Dispatch.
James said the shooting was in self-defense.
The Partnership learned of the conviction from a Post-Dispatch reporter, and released a statement Friday that read, in part:
“We have asked Elasticity, our contracted communications firm, to release Devin James from his subcontractor role, due to a lack of transparency. While we admire his personal growth from difficult circumstances and commend him for his high quality work in Ferguson, it was the lack of information about his background that prompted us to make this move.
Mr. James failed to inform us of his prior conviction. He also did not reveal this information to Elasticity when he was hired as a subcontractor.
James was subcontracted two weeks after Brown was killed, after the city was criticized for not hiring a minority owned firm.
He was behind a video apology from Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson to the Brown family released on Thursday — the apology nearly led to violence as police and protesters clashed briefly that evening, according to the Associated Press.
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